Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, a noted Rev. Martin L. King Jr. scholar, said "in this age of global terrorism and in this age when so many are obsessed with guns, I think Dr. King is most relevant."
"... We need to read him and to try and understand what he was trying to tell us about violence and about our obsession with the instruments of violence," said Baldwin during a Jan. 9, 2016, telephone interview with me. You can listen to the complete interview below.
"Dr. King knew when he was alive that this was a nation obsessed with guns [and] obsessed with weapons. And he tried to tell us that if we don't deal with the stockpiling of weapons on a global scale, [and if] we don't deal with the obsession of guns in this society, we're going to destroy ourselves," said Baldwin, emeritus professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He retired in 2013 after teaching almost 30 years at Vanderbilt.
Additionally, Baldwin believes the King birthday has "taken on a ritualistic significance. We've lost the sense of who the person was."
Baldwin, who has authored numerous books on King including There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr., and The Voice of Conscience: The Church in the Mind of Martin Luther King, Jr., has a forthcoming book to be published in May by Fortress Press: Behind the Public Veil: The Humanness of Martin Luther King, Jr.
I interviewed Baldwin for my award-winning radio documentary Dr. Martin L. King Jr.: The Man, The Movement, The Momentum, produced for Memphis station WGKX-KIX 106 FM, where I was the news director. His insights about King contributed to a second place award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Thanks to the efforts of then-General Manager John Bibbs, the 32-minute documentary was simulcast on several radio stations in Memphis, which was unprecedented at the time.
According to his bio, during his retirement celebration in November 2013, "Baldwin received several awards from Vanderbilt for his years of scholarship on African American Religion and Martin Luther King, Jr." He has also been honored by academic institutions, churches, community and cultural centers, and local, regional, and national politicians, for his preaching, teaching, and scholarship.
My interview of Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin recorded Jan. 9, 2016.
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.